In FY18, GFDRR activities supported more than 25 countries in Africa. These activities leveraged $917 million in development finance across the region.
In recent years, most of Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced robust and sustained economic growth. A quarter of the countries in the region registered a GDP growth rate of 7% or higher going into 2013. However, just one major natural disaster, such as a drought or widespread flooding, can greatly affect a country’s growth rate. In many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, the economy is based on rain-fed agriculture, which is easily damaged by the effects of climate change. Additionally, aging or poorly maintained infrastructure such as roads, power lines, and irrigation systems; a lack of basic data on weather patterns and hazards; and weak government institutions increase risks due to natural disasters.
Rapid urbanization and land degradation exacerbate these risks—by 2050, an estimated 60% of the population will live in cities. Fortunately, political commitment to disaster risk management in Sub-Saharan African countries is growing, creating opportunities for engagement. FY17 saw new areas of focus for GFDRR in the region, including efforts to establish open data access and sharing of disaster-related information. GFDRR is also working with governments to develop financial protection mechanisms. These initiatives are helping the region to build the long-term resilience to natural disasters needed to sustain countries’ economic growth.
In Malawi, GFDRR is helping the government implement innovative forecasting and risk modeling systems to protect people against the risk of floods and droughts. In Mozambique, GFDRR is helping to construct safer schools using new building codes that enable key infrastructure to withstand the forces of cyclones and severe storms. Similarly, in Madagascar, new transport and irrigation infrastructure safety codes proved so efficient that only one in 1,000 improved public buildings constructed by a social fund is suffering damages.